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Self-downing mediates the association between fixed intelligence mindset and different indicators of students’ mental health

Abstract

While there is ample evidence documenting associations between fixed intelligence mindset and students’ mental health much less is known about the mediating mechanisms through which fixed intelligence mindset exerts its influence. The present study (N = 310) aimed to investigate exam-related irrational beliefs from cognitive-behavioral theories as potential mediators between fixed intelligence mindset and students’ mental health-related outcomes during the exam period. Structural equation modeling revealed that self-downing—as evaluating one’s worth globally and negatively due to failure on exams— and depressive symptoms mediated the effect of fixed intelligence mindset on emotions in a causal chain. Other types of irrational beliefs such as low frustration tolerance of poor exam performance, demandingness and catastrophizing about exam failure did not serve as mediators. These findings suggest that students with fixed intelligence mindset interpret exam performance from the perspective of its repercussions on their self and its worth, which, in turn, predisposes them to poorer mental health during the exam period.

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The second author was supported by a Horizon Postdoctoral Fellowship from Concordia University in the preparation of the manuscript.

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Gál, É., Tóth-Király, I., Szamosközi, I. et al. Self-downing mediates the association between fixed intelligence mindset and different indicators of students’ mental health. Curr Psychol (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-021-01457-5

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Keywords

  • Intelligence mindset
  • Irrational beliefs
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Negative emotion